One of the sites here in Nicaragua is Boys Club, a soccer club for three communities in and around Masaya. In these communities, the site leaders Jimmy and Joseph, provide soccer balls and create teams for the boys to play against each other. Every morning, Jimmy and Joseph travel to Jocote, Nindiri and Pochote to play soccer, basketball, baseball or whatever sport the boys want to play and spend all day there. After each game, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, they have a Bible study. The boys all gather around to listen to Joseph read a passage of Scripture and excitedly answer his questions to show they understand.
The leaders also create a store for the boys to shop at. Every time they come to a Boys Club meeting, they get a “bonus,” which is an orange dollar bill and when they collect enough bonuses, they get to shop at the store. In the store, they offer almost anything a young boy could want; backpacks, school supplies, toys, soccer balls, cleats, and more. I watched Jimmy and Joseph organize everything in the SI Base dinning room and I could see the passion that they have for working with the boys.
For me, the great thing about going to Boys Club is seeing how excited the boys get to see Jimmy, Joseph, and Micah, SI’s semester intern. They love getting to play and interact with them and show off whatever new trick they have learned. The boys were very welcoming to me as well, even though I was quickly informed, “soccer is not for girls.” I had fun just kicking the ball around with the younger boys and photographing the teams compete. Over and over, I was impressed with how well the boys were able to handle the ball, even while wearing sandals, slipping and sliding on the dusty concrete court in Nindiri.
My favorite thing to do at Boys Club is sit with the boys who are too little to play on the teams. They love having their picture taken and getting the chance to take pictures themselves. They take turns sitting on my lap while I hold the camera in front of them, placing their tiny, dirty fingers on the shutter button, so they can take a picture of their brothers and friends playing on the field in front of us. The best part is that they are babbling in the cutest, rolling Spanish the whole time, and even though I can’t understand a word, they still joke and giggle with me as much as they can.
After getting the chance to go to every site, I can fondly say that Boys Club is my favorite. The smiling faces of those sweet boys brighten my day every time I go and I know that God is working in their hearts and through their leaders to do something miraculous in their lives.
Photos by Kat Kelley, Fallyn Paruleski, and Professor Jessa Wilcoxen